My defense date has been set. Now the research clock is ticking....
The dissertation is in review. I'm defending in a few weeks. This raises all sorts of anxiety, in part, because I am out of publishable data and I remain unemployed. I've written a few postdoctoral fellowships, but I don't have much hope that I will land them...in part, because my publication record is wanting. This is partially my fault and partially the fault of my graduate program, which sells itself on a strong research component but, in practice, prefers that students teach 12-20 hours a week to earn their "fellowship". I've spent much of the last year asking myself why I didn't jump ship in those first 6 months and join a program where students were encouraged to do research.
As I finish up these two papers to be submitted to journals, and make the revisions my committee requests of my thesis, I finally have the time to really search for a job. H and I have decided to cast the net far and wide for a bench position. At this moment, I really don't know what two months from now will look like. Our new strategy to reduce college debt, have kids etc are all in flux. While I'm trying very hard to regain some semblance of normal work hours, my validity as a potential researcher has an expiration date. I'm aware that the day after my defense, the clock starts ticking. While my P.I.s would like me to searching various published data to find potentially interesting areas to study, I've decided that I would rather get ahead on a few publishing projects, find another lab to work in and maybe finally get to the top of the Empire State Building. Whatever I do, it can't cost much because my bank balance is pretty low.
It's a strange time. I'm wishing days away and begging for more time simultaneously. I've found myself considering volunteering as a postdoc just to get ahead on projects - a situation that would almost certainly leave me broke and as well as not valued in a lab. I'm a mass of contradictions this month :) Ah well.